Gender Imbalance in Private Equity

by Ben Formela Osborne

  • 17 Feb 2010
  • PE

It is no secret that the private equity industry, like many finance related trades, is male-dominated. There are a number of possible explanations for this, ranging from the dearth of female role-models in the industry to a bias in recruitment. Some firms suffer from a reputation of professional glass ceilings, which make it difficult for female employees to rise to top positions within the industry. Accordingly, Preqin has looked at the number of female employees in senior management positions across the private equity industry to explore the extent of this disparity.

In terms of geography, North America-based private equity firms have the highest percentage, 8.5%, of female employees in senior management roles in the industry. Europe-based firms have an average of 8.2% female senior staff members whilst Asia and Rest of World lag behind, with women constituting 7.6% of employees in top positions.

It appears that a firms’ primary investment strategy might have a bearing on the number of females working at the firm, with private equity real estate firms employing an average of 11.7% of female staff in senior roles, compared with only 6.3% at buyout firms. Venture firms have an average of 8.2% of female staff in senior positions.

The size of a private equity firm also may affect the number of females working in top jobs, with smaller firms of five or fewer employees only employing 7.5% female staff, compared with 9.7% in firms of 20 employees or more.

For more information on employment in private equity, please see our Fund Manager Profiles.


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